The inclusion of real world interaction within game play is imminent. For example, the developers of World of Warcraft (WoW) are currently investigating ways to synchronize WoW’s auction house with real world currency.

Game worlds seem to be more inclined to partner with components in life space as opposed to the reverse. That being said, the unfortunate reality of gamification has started to take shape in both realms.

There is, however, an alternative to this diluted perspective. Game designer and professor Ian Bogost notes: “Serious games have given their advocates a way to frame the use of games in governmental and industrial contexts by making the claim that games can tackle consequential topics and provide profound results.” These can range from simple games to more complex systems. For instance, Third Faction presented “DPS” (Demand Player Sovereignty), a project promoting social activism, at ISEA 2011 in Istanbul. This is one way artists have begun merging real world politics with gamespace in a non-trivial way.

The future of gaming is morphing. Artists and educators are acting as a catalyst for this change. The result will be a merging of both the virtual and the geophysical world. Instead of integrating games into reality, as with gamification, reality will be integrated into games. 

by John Bruneau
There is a lot of buzz right now over Gamification. Businesses are jumping on the Gamification bandwagon to push profits up. There is a strong drive in academia to gamify education. On the one hand we have Serious Games and Games for Change; on the other, we have foursquare America’s Army and Badgeville, all vying for our attention, all trying to up the ante. Gamification is the present of gaming. So what of the future?
The future is full of intensity, excitement and stress! Every aspect of life is so deeply infused with game mechanics that separating game and life is an impossibility. Desperately, people begin searching for a way to escape into a place where they won’t be weighted, measured or scored, a place where quest-lines all come to an end. Banal is the new fantasy world of games. 

When life is a game, escapism becomes the ideal life. Several indie game titles currently indulge this impulse. Passage, Dinner Date and Metro Rules of Conduct are all signs of things to come. As this new genre of games begins to rise in popularity, marketers and academics will begin looking for ways to introduce life-like elements into life. For better or worse, future schools, businesses and altruistic nonprofits will all try to lure us away from the leveling rat race with “Lifeification”. The future of gaming is not the Gamification, but rather the Lifeification, of life.

by Marek Kapolka
If, video replaces our thoughts with moving images, then games will replace our thoughts with systems. Whereas non-interactive media provide representations, games provide simulations. As such, the cognitive processes used to understand a game are completely different from those used to understand passive media. Even on a basic level the player is required to learn a complex network of causes and effects in order to successfully navigate any game. This mode of thinking has the potential to create a framework for scientific curiosity. In science, as in game analysis, the observer asks a series of “why” questions down through layers of complexity in order to understand the systems that drive their subject. With the systemic fluency provided by playing games and a finely developed sense of agency, gamers will not only have a lucid vision of the social order they want to live in but will also be able to design the rules of such a society.

by Thomas Asmuth
In Homo Ludens the act of Play was quoted as being ‘older than culture’ itself by Dutch historian and theorist Johan Huizinga. In his argument, Play transcends the milestones by which we would frame ‘civilization’ and ‘culture’. The impetus for play and gaming is an innate drive in man and other mammals and, when framed within Huizinga’s theory, the topic ‘Future of Games’ sounds hyperbolic. The desire to play and game is instinctual stuff that we carry with us all the time.

Contemporary popularization and interest in gaming is firmly rooted in the massive rise of the personal computing and networking industries. The games industry regularly outsells Hollywood with annual sales in the 100’s of billions of US dollars. These cyclopean revenues have inspired a creative generation of software engineers, artists and sociologists. These game culturalists are all focused on the nature of gaming and the possibilities it can kindle.

This emergent global gaming culture transcends geographical, social, and national boundaries: this is where the Future of Games gains traction. There is a very real sense of community formation within, and surrounding, gaming systems. It may be one of the best ways humanity can collaborate and collectively bring forth models for discourse, change and cultural improvement. The Future of Games is in the massively interconnected society that thrives within games and the evolving culture that surrounds them.

Third Faction, founded in 2008, is an affiliation of avatars and entities with a collective interest in exposing binary systems in virtual environments. Third Faction’s focus is to develop a democratized and non-hierarchical praxis as well as governance. Current members include a global cabal of artists and performers whose work has been internationally recognized and exhibited. www.thirdfaction.org

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